24 May 2016

Rockpool residents; chitons, a poychaete and a hermit crab.

A trip to the beach with the youngest field assistant on a warm day; the tide was out and there were plenty of rockpools to explore on the sideritic bench between Runswick and Kettleness. The rockpools were warm; a tribute to the evolutionary fitness of the creatures that live there. They've become adapted to withstand wide ranges of salinity, temperature and dissolved oxygen levels. The youngest field assistant was bossing the sampling show:

We found a pair of chitons, one rather plain the other a crazy pink:
Does it become pink through grazing on the encrusting pink algae thereabouts or has the algae decided to use the carapace of this rather slow moving shellfish as a home?

We also found a polychaete worm. S/he had an impressive little tuft of antennae on the head.

Being in a bit of an interested-in-shellfish phase right now I took a pic of this one happily hunkered down surrounded by coraline and red algae:

It promptly sprouted legs, antennae and eyes, and marched off, a bit of 'no pictures!' in its hermit crabby manner.

An upended rock revealed an anemone amid a colony of Pomatoceras worms with some green seaweed (Ulva lactuca) trying to get established.

 The youngest field assistant wanted to poke his finger into the anemone's mouth. The rock was replaced, the anemone unpoked after a quick lesson about nematocysts.

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